When Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick went down with a hamstring injury, the front office made a move by adding another veteran in Chase Utley.
The trade allowed utility man Kiké Hernandez to play more center field and other positions instead of having to play second base every day in Kendrick’s absence.
While everything is working out nicely for the time being with Utley playing second base, Kendrick is expected to return in early September, so changes will need to be made.
Although Utley will for now play his natural position, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said time at third base could very well be in Utley’s future. That shouldn’t be an issue as prior to making his Dodgers debut, Utley expressed a willingness to play over at third, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
Chase Utley says that he's "open for anything" re: third base. "I'll take some ground balls over there and see what happens."
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 21, 2015
Meanwhile, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Kendrick will return from the disabled list as the club’s starting second baseman, according to via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
Kendrick will be starter at 2B when he returns from DL, Mattingly said.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) August 21, 2015
Utley has never played third base at the Major-League level over his 13-year career, but if he can make that transition, it certainly will afford Mattingly with more flexibility.
The Dodgers currently do not have a true backup third baseman as Alex Guerrero has struggled defensively and been inconsistent at the plate after a hot start to the season.